How to clean your Instant Pot, so it doesn't become infested (oh no!)

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If you were one of the many people who got an Instant Pot over the holidays and officially joined the pressure cooking cult, you probably know that your Instant Pot can be used so many different ways that the options of recipes to try out are endless. 

You also probably know that the cleanup is such a breeze. Everything cooks in one pot, so all you have to do is give it a good scrub in the sink or put it in the dishwasher and you're all set -- or so you thought. 

You may not notice all the extra cleaning that has to be done if you've only made a few recipes in your Instant Pot, and that's totally fine. Everything probably looks brand new still, but try out a few more recipes and you'll start to notice that some smells can linger in the Instant Pot if not cleaned properly, or worse -- maggots. 


How to avoid maggot city

First of all, you'd have to be not paying attention at all if you didn't notice maggots growing in and around your Instant Pot. Before you vomit at the thought of maggots, know that they could appear in the condensation container that is hooked up to the side of the Instant Pot. 

As you've probably noticed, the little plastic container collects some of the condensation from the Instant Pot, but it can also catch food particles and fat, which eventually could spawn a small colony of maggots if left uncleaned. So for the love of everything that is holy, please empty this cup after each cook. Nobody has time to clean up maggots. 


Bye-bye, funky smells

Another spot in the Instant Pot that goes unnoticed but needs to be cleaned a lot is the rubber sealing ring that adorns the lid of your pot. You can't cook without the rubber sealing ring because it makes sure that steam doesn't escape while you're pressure cooking, but it also absorbs all of that steam, so things can get pretty smelly. 

Bon Appétit suggests a couple different ways to clean the rubber sealing ring. If you're cooking things in your Instant Pot that don't have a lot of spices and are pretty basic like rice or yogurt, then you can easily wash the ring in the dishwasher along with the pot itself. 

If you're cooking full on meals in your Instant Pot that have lots of ingredients and spices (and honestly, why wouldn't you be?) then you'll want to do a little extra to make sure that ring is clean. A lot of food blogs suggest soaking it with good old-fashioned white vinegar. Just soak the ring with a few tablespoons of white vingar and water for an hour and you're good to go. Make sure that the ring is completely dry before putting it back in the lid, too. 

That's another tip that a lot of food blogs recommend too: making sure everything is dry before putting it away. Once you're done cooking your food and your pot is nice and clean, give it a couple hours before putting the lid back on. Trapping those funky smells in the Instant Pot will only make things worse, and no one has time for that, either. 


And now for everything else

Another way to clean the ring and the rest of the Instant Pot at the same time is running a steam cycle with white vinegar, water and some lemon rind. Just run the cycle for a few minutes and your Instant Pot will be clean, and your kitchen will probably smell pretty fragrant, too. 

And if you're really worried about your rubber sealing ring smelling like an entire head of garlic when you want to make a cheesecake (yes, you can make cheesecake in the Instant Pot) you can always purchase more sealing rings on Amazon and have designated savory and sweet rings. 

Cleaning your Instant Pot is definitely something that you should worry about, or take up a huge amount of your time. Just be cautious to what everything inside your Instant Pot smells and looks like, and you should be just fine. 

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